Example of how one PPG group works

By putting resources into its PPG, one practice has harnessed the energy and ideas of a strong group of volunteers who act as a communication channel between patients and staff. They are led by   a committee of 12 representing a cross-section of the patient population. The PPG group aims include helping patients to make best use of what the practice has to offer, linking with other health related organisations in the area and passing on ideas for changes to practice services.  In addition, they are well placed to communicate with their local CCG on the needs and wishes of patients, and to report on the impact of cuts and changes to NHS provision on the lives of real people. A number of factors help to make the group effective, including:

  • The practice is a member of National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP) (www.napp.org.uk) which provides them with back up, ideas from other practices, training for PPG members and more.
  • They have a formal constitution based on the NAPP model.
  • Membership is open to all patients and staff in the practice. GPs and practice nurses actively recruit patients who they think could help, and/or represent specific groups of patients such as older people, ethnic communities, people with disabilities or long-term conditions.
  • The group is run by a committee made up of members of the PPG with chairperson, secretary, treasurer elected at an Annual General Meeting.
  • Meetings are held monthly, for an hour and a half in the early evening. A senior GP and other practice staff attend every meeting.
  • The PPG has its own room in the Practice which is used for informal meetings and is also a resource room where patients have access to websites and other resources to get  information on health related issues. Members of the PPG attend at different times to help patients find the information they want.
  • PPG members take the lead in organising workshops and talks on different health topics in line with local needs and in discussion with practice staff. They help organise campaigns such as disposal of unused medications, take-up of flu vaccination and ‘walking for health’.
  • The PPG is involved in patient surveys and gathering feedback from individual patients and ideas for improving the way the Practice is run.
  • Increasingly, the PPG will be listening out for patients’ reactions to changes or cuts in services and sending concerns to the CCG and local Health Watch committee.
  • PPG meetings and events are publicised by notices in the Practice, and through a regular newsletter (printed and on line versions).
  • The PPG has received a small grant from the local CCG towards cost of workshops, newsletters and other resources.

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